The hard-partying ways of Flyers captain Mike Richards and center Jeff Carter played a major role in the organization's decision to trade both players in June, say two Flyers who played with the pair last season.
Carter was sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets for free agent forward Jakub Voracek and first- and third-round picks in the draft, and Richards was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn.
The two unnamed players said that the Flyers front office was disappointed in Carter and Richards' longstanding party lifestyle and that teammates were concerned about the pair's drinking.
Shortly after his arrival in December 2009, coach Peter Laviolette instituted what players came to call the "Dry Island." Laviolette asked team members to commit to not drinking for a month, and each player was asked to write his number on a locker room board as a pledge. No. 17 (Carter) and No. 18 (Richards) were absent from the board on the first Dry Island, as well as the estimated five more times the policy was instituted.
In a phone interview Thursday, Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren confirmed that Richards and Carter hadn't put their numbers on the board, but said there had been others who declined. "We carry 23 players and there wasn't 23 numbers up there."
Holmgren was "really upset that this is out there. That's our locker room. Our inner sanctum. Our board. Someone's crossing a line here," in discussing the Dry Island.
Holmgren also said it was "preposterous" that partying was factored into the decision to trade Richards and Carter. "As far as Mike and Jeff are concerned, we made two good hockey trades that will better suit us now and for the future. Columbus is happy, L.A. is happy and the Flyers are happy with the deal."
Carter's agent, Rick Curran, told us it was "bull----" to suggest that the two were traded because of their partying. "You're telling me a number of accusations [that] they are out partying and not focused on hockey. For someone to suggest that behind doors without having the balls to come out publicly, consider it for what it is," Curran told us.
Richards' agent, Don Meehan, did not return repeated requests for comment; Carter and Richards did not respond to voice mails on their cell- phones or text messages.